Melanie had heard many other women over the years refer to her as ‘a strong woman’. She didn’t really consider herself as such. After all she had struggled through many years of hardships, sometimes only scraping it through on what could be considered an unsafe planet. Sometimes it felt like she was an alien landed in a strange nightmare and other times it was like just being glad she had an anchor to grab while drowning in a sea.
Childhood days were filled with struggle in a family where children were ‘seen and not heard’. Teenage years followed of ‘nerdy’ loneliness. An unsupportive, resentful mother who on one hand encouraged her and on the other told her there would never be any money for such things as ‘university studies’. An absent father who had been alienated by an oppressive European family so much that he had to leave. Thank God for the doting grandparents or she never would have made it. She was grandads ‘apple of his eye’ and grandma taught her about cooking, cleaning fish properly and what it meant to be a woman of the house, back then.
Perhaps somewhere amidst this negative fear-filled life she had learnt something though. She recalls reading a comic book of a woman called ‘Joan of Arc’ who’s story was to get on her white horse and wave her sword and fight battles, and win. So over the years, through the trials and tribulations of life she fashioned her own sword and began to wave it.
This is the secret of a strong woman. It is not that we have a honey-filled life of everything going our way. It’s quite the contrary. We come to a point where we decide, somewhere inside that ‘enough is enough’ and we pick up that imaginary sword and begin to fight our battles, our way. We develop a sense of when to fight and when to back off but it’s never a retreat. It’s to regroup, develop a new strategy, a new way. If one way doesn’t work then another one will. At times other people won’t like what we have to say or want to honour our boundaries but we have developed our own style and technique and it doesn’t matter.
At some point in our lives we have reconciled our head and our heart. We have come to a quiet acceptance of who we are and what we are. We have climbed off the prestigious bandwagon and formed our own brand, our own creed. We live by values and decided to sidestep the dishonest glamour of the world and come into our own. We have reconciled ourselves to live our journey, honour our birth and the gifts we have with dignity. We abide no matter which way the world pushes and pulls us and for this reason…we endure… and will continue to endure.